This was a stratified, random telephone survey of adults in North Carolina.Objective
To determine the prevalance of chronic low back pain and the extent to which treatment is sought for this condition.Summary of Background Data
Chronic low back pain is a major problem. Previous studies often have comb ined acute and chronic back pain.Methods
Telephone interviews regarding back pain were conducted with 4437 North Caroliona adults during 1992.Results
Chronic back pain affects 3.9% of the North Carolina population. Thirty-four percent considered themselves permanently disabled and 52% assessed their overall health as fair or poor. The median number of bed-disability days per year was three. Seventy-three percent saw a health care provider Of those who sought care, 91% saw a medical doctore, 29% saw a physical therapist, and 25% saw a chiropractor, Use of technology was extensive: 37% received a computed tomography scan, 25% received a magnetic resonance imaging scan, and 10.4% underwent surgery.Conclusions
Chronic back pain is common, and the level of care-seeking and costs of care among those afflicted are extremely high.